THE ODDS AGAINST HAVING TRIPLETS are 6,400 to 1—against identical triplets, 50,000 to 1. But what are the odds against having identical triplets with identically perfect records in high school? Not all that sleep, where the Schoenherr sisters are concerned: There may be no more disciplined a trio of 18-year-olds anywhere in America.
“I just worked hard at it and did it,” says Christine.
“Yeah, it took a lot of discipline,” says Catherine.
“In order to succeed you have to work hard,” chimes in Cynthia.
With 4.0 grade-point averages during all four of their years at Armada (Mich.) High School, in a small fanning community (pop. 1,500) 60 miles north of Detroit, the three completed each other’s thoughts once again on May 24. That’s when they delivered the valedictory speech for Armada High’s class of ’92—one third each.
“They aren’t nerds or bookworms,” says Sara Bongiorno, one of 119 seniors at Armada High. Indeed they aren’t. The girls spend considerable time in community volunteer work: managing their church’s food booth at the Armada Fair, putting on parties for senior citizens and tutoring middle-school students. This in addition to their daily chores on their family’s fruit-and-vegetable farm. These days, that means rising at 4:30 most mornings to help get the fields—the Schoenherrs own 26 acres and rent another 135—ready for planting. “When the girls were little, they’d get upset if they got a B or a C on a paper,” says their father, Clare, 45, who also works as a technician for the local phone company to help make ends meet. “I told them, ‘Hey, do your best. Don’t worry.’ ”
After the triplets were born—they have an older sister, Jennifer, 22—one grandmother told their mother, Diane, 44, that she feared triplets would be less intelligent than a single child. “Yeah,” says Cathy, who with Chris and Cindy plans to attend nearby Macomb Community College in the fall. “She thought we’re like a third of a person and would have only a third of a brain. We proved her wrong.”
You can say that again. And again. And again.